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PBA: Mixers try again

Almazan, Blakely and Reid

Painters stand in the way of grand slam bid
by Waylon Galvez

Game Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
8 p.m. – San Mig Super Coffee vs Rain or Shine

Manila, Philippines – Will it be a grand slam for San Mig Super Coffee or another championship for Rain or Shine?

In a fitting end to a thrilling and emotionally-draining championship series, the Elasto Painters and the Mixers clash today in the deciding fifth game of the PLDT Home Telpad Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

San Mig will be aiming for a share of history as it tries to become the fourth team in the PBA to win all three titles in one season also known as the ‘grand slam.’

Standing in its path is the resilient Rain or Shine, who, with its back against the wall, survived Game 4 to deny an outright celebration for the Mixers.

The Elasto Painters can spoil it all by winning the fifth game and in the process earn for Rain or Shine only its second championship since joining the league in 2006.

Game is at 8 p.m. with a big crowd expected to fill the Big Dome. The series have averaged about 17,000 per game but tonight’s fifth game is expected to leave no seat unoccupied.

San Mig’s party plans were abruptly cancelled last Monday as Rain or Shine tied the series with a masterful 88-79 victory to force sudden death.

The two franchises split the first four games with the Mixers winning Games 1 (104-101) and 3 (78-69). The Elasto Painters took Game 2 in overtime (89-87) and Game 4.

“Sa tagalog may kasabihan tayo, ‘matira ang matibay’,” said Rain or Shine Coach Yeng Guiao.

Best Import winner Arizona Reid and locals Paul Lee, Beau Belga, Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, Chris Tiu, Ryan Arana, Jireh Ibanes, and rookie Raymond Almazan were the key players responsible for extending the series. Now they also have a chance to beat the odds against the favored Mixers.

“Talagang patibayan na ‘to dahil sa sked at sa klase ng laro. It’s really physical out there and you have to take all that,” added Guiao, who is eyeing his seventh coaching title in the PBA, and second with Rain or Shine.